Efficient Wound Closure in Veterinary Medicine: The Benefits of Skin Staplers

Veterinary surgeons have largely embraced surgical stapling, especially during the past 10 years. The reasons are apparent to those veterinarians familiar with surgical stapling equipment: reduction in surgery/anaesthesia time for the patient, simplicity of application and consistency in results.

Some doctors have been slow to embrace surgical stapling, primarily because of the potential cost concerns associated with investing in the equipment and supplies.

The skin stapler remains as the simplest of the stapling devices to master. In general, skin staples are easy to apply and remove; they give the surgeon the security of a simple interrupted suture pattern while saving a significant amount of time closing long or multiple skin incisions.

Skin staples are disposable in individual sterile wrapping, each supplied with 35 staples per stapler.

Staplers have many uses in the veterinary practice some of which are:

  1. They can be effectively used as internal radiographic markers when applied to the subcutaneous tissues and underlying muscle fascia after tumour resection. These metallic markers can assist the radiation oncologist in determining the margins of the surgical field and the appropriate region to irradiate postoperatively.
  2. Skin staples can be used to reinforce a conventional wound closure in danger of dehiscence, or incisions where small gaps are noted. In those cases in which the patient has removed skin sutures, the wound can be lightly prepared with an antiseptic solution, followed by the immediate application of skin staples. In many cases, little or no sedation is required to apply a few supportive staples to the “incision at risk.”
  3. Dressings applied to wounds are occasionally displaced as a result of motion. Ointments or discharge from the wound also can serve as a lubricant, facilitating movement of the contact dressing. Medicated or protective dressings can be effectively secured to a problematic area with skin staples. Staples also can be used to secure individual (secondary bandage) bandage layers together for stronger, more cohesive coverage of a given body region
  4. Staplers are a great way to secure drainage tubes. Strips of surgical tape, applied as small “butterfly” bands to the external tubing, can support its span between the wound and collection reservoir. Skin staples are a simple method of securing the tape strips to the external skin.

Most staples are extracted with the staple removers. Staple removers grasp and crimp the external staple bar outwards, as the scissors-like handle is closed. The staple remover is lifted to free the staple from the skin surface.

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